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Faith in Lord conquers fear

Thought for the weekend

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

'I have decided to follow Jesus … no turning back, no turning back", is a well known Christian chorus. In the portion of the Gospel many Christians will hear this weekend, it is the Lord Jesus for whom there is no turning back as He "resolutely took the road for Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51).

He set His face towards Jerusalem like one who steps out determinedly into a storm. He steels Himself for what He knows awaits Him there. The prophet Isaiah said about Him that He would set His face "like flint"... "against insult and spittle" (Isaiah 50:6-7).

"The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man... He shall cry, yea, roar; He shall prevail against his enemies" (Isaiah 42:13). He is going to the Cross to contend with Death and to defeat it. He sets out against the powers and principalities of darkness who shall flee from Him.

It is this mighty victor who calls us to His side. Why would we hesitate? Because of His triumph, the Cross is an invincible weapon. And yet, indeed, we drag our feet, we are unwilling and we even draw back.

What causes our desertion of the Cross is identified by St Paul as "self-indulgence", which is "the opposite of the Spirit" (see Galatians 5:13-18). We need to learn from the prophet Elisha when the Lord sent Elijah to anoint him as his successor.

Elisha too hesitated, wavered, but only momentarily. His distraction was dealt with quickly and then "he followed Elijah and became his servant" (see 1 Kings 19:16, 19-21).

The Lord Jesus shares with us His own Spirit. It is this very Spirit - the Spirit of Glory, God the Holy Spirit - who gave the Lord Jesus victory over all the power of the enemy. The Holy Spirit is the Father's glory, His delight in His beloved son, who raises Him from the dead (Romans 6:10-11).

It is this very love that is also given to us "for the Love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us" (Romans 5:5).

We might experience trepidation and anxiety, but when we walk resolutely onwards with the Lord, we will know His "Love strong as death", the flash of which is a flash of fire, burning in our hearts.

And our fears will vanish as a drop of water disappears in a furnace.

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